Aija Alsina is a Latvian composer, based in London. For many years now she has been developing her unique creative personality through multiple scores and projects, from films to fashion shows. She was one of the finalists in the prestigious Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Contest in 2016, and was invited back as a judge in 2017. Domum, released on September 13, 2017, is Alsina’s debut album as a solo artist.
The experience and influence Alsina gets from scoring for films is vivid throughout the entire album. With pieces such as Breakaway and Healing, she bring evocative images of city landscapes to the mind, as well as imaginary field sounds and urban textures.
It seems obvious that Alsina shares a lot of her influences with the current post-minimalist wave. She places herself in the footsteps of Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter or Yann Tiersen—with whom she shares the talent for catchy tunes, wonderfully demonstrated in pieces like Frostork.
Domum is a very personal and melancholic piece of work, full of souvenirs from Alsina’s childhood—Krastini—and a return to her instrument of choice, the piano. The notion of time is also omnipresent, beautifully illustrated in Reflection or My Favorite Book.
Morning Glow, my personal favourite, is a hypnotic piano ostinato that sucks you into the music in a spiral of sounds. Thumbs up to Variation on the Horse Theme too, which lays out the amount of creativity Alsina can fit in one piece of music.
Although mainly a solo piano album, the use of strings—violin and cello—as well as the french horn come as a delicate surprise. Additional textures and sounds would have been interesting, and would have made the album sound a bit more complete—however leaving less space for the mind to wander in imaginative territories.
Domum is a successful launch into the world of solo recordings for Aija Alsina. More than a simple collection of pieces written throughout the years, it is truly an invitation to her personal world and past souvenirs.